Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy new year

From prison when the various repair people were here over the past month--

to pawty Airedale-style--

have a New Year's eve without noisy fireworks!
Now that Alanis' hearing isn't so good, I'm hoping she won't be bothered by the explosions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

So good when it stops

The one good thing about day after day of torrential rain is that you notice when it stops. Today it didn't rain or snow. It wasn't windy or freezing cold. Enough diffused sun came through the clouds to create a pleasant light. People wanting snow for Christmas may disagree but, to me, today was perfect winter weather.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and a happy day to everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How common is your dog's name?

In Seattle, one out of every 83 licensed dogs is named Lucy, according to a recent story in the Seattle Times. That's 540 dogs in the city's license database and does not include the much larger county database where my dogs are licensed.  The reporter consulted for the country's most popular dog names. No more Rex, Lady and Rover. Now they're Bella, Daisy, Lucy, Molly, and Chloe for the girls; and Max (in my son's generation, 1 out of 10 human boys seems to be named Max, too), Buddy, Charlie, Rocky and Cooper for the boys.

 I have never come across another dog named after the Spanish artist Joan Miro.  He doesn't look much like my dog but the artwork definitely reflects Miro's mind and personality.
Joan Miró, photo by Carl Van Vechten, June 1935
I didn't name Alanis but assume she was named after the singer Alanis Morissette, mostly because she's the only other Alanis I've ever heard of. Sadly, with her hoarse, one-note bark, the dog doesn't sound much like a singer.

Sometimes, no matter what your dog's name, the best name to yell is COOKIE!

I don't hear you.
I don't hear you, either; I'm squirrel-watching.

Somebody said cookie!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Miro's favorite hiding place

Also known as the smallest room in the house.

The little rug holds the door open. Sometimes the door shuts and I hear a mysterious moaning, as if there's a ghost in the house. After the first time or two, I learned where to find the juvenile delinquent in his hideout.

Friday, December 14, 2012

needing a frivolous note

I wrote my post hours before learning of the shooting. The entire nation mourns today and everyone who has loved is reminded to love a little more.

I took a glass mosaic class the other day. Rather than being taught what to do, I was briefly shown how to cut glass with tile cutters, given the equipment and left to it. After several minutes of total bewilderment--how was I to get a rendition of my photo onto the mosaic board, did they think I could draw?--I traced around the border of my photo of Miró and started clipping away at chunks of glass.

Probably not a good idea to put the photo first but it's such a cute photo.

I call it a fifth-grade project because while the other ladies carefully arranged patterns with tiny bits of glass and I glued down my chunks, a real fifth grader came in to finish a project she had begun the week before. Hers, like mine, was a mosaic of her dog. Hers, unlike mine, was a true likeness, composed of small pieces she had cut and arranged to look like a little white dog with black eyes and a pink nose. She even included the collar. I mention this to show what one can accomplish with meticulous patience, which I have not got.

 I had to place it on the floor near a window to get natural light and it was, as usual, raining outside. Somebody had to investigate.
 I call it my impressionistic Airedale. But you can tell it's an Airedale. What more would I want?
With a few minutes left over, I played with colors and slapped together a trivet.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alanis!

Alanis is 12 today. I brought her home a little over 4 years ago. Sadly, my first photos were lost in a computer crash (now I have a double back-up system, both cloud and external hard drive!) but I do have photos from the following spring when the little monster Miro arrived.
Bitey face.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Alanis makes a statement

Pre-op, looking sweet and innocent.

On Friday Alanis went to the vet to get stitches removed from three incisions where small tumors near her mammary glands had been taken out the previous week. I was happy to learn none of the tumors were malignant but I will need to keep an eye on her. Alanis will be twelve in less than a week and was not spayed until she retired at age eight from her career as a show dog and mom. A later spay increases the risk of breast cancer in bitches but a too-early spay increases the risk of incontinence. (Sadly, animal shelters have no choice but to alter dogs even as young as eight weeks before they can be adopted out, but I urge people who have bought a dog from a breeder to do some research about the right age.)

After surgery the veterinarian always advises the dog owner to keep the dog quiet for a certain amount of time, upon which the dog owner falls about the place laughing at the impossibility. In Alanis' case, my chuckle was for a different reason. Alanis is not a high-powered mover and shaker like Miro. Even when I brough her home four years ago, she was an atypical Airedale who did not leap about or try to knock your feet out from under you. No, the problem wasn't keeping her quiet but keeping Miro from bothering her, which I accomplished with judicious yelling.

Back to Friday. As the vet and I sat in the clinic lobby reviewing care information, Alanis moved to the nearby area rug, squatted and peed. Indoors! After a second of gaping like a fish, I shot to my feet, saying, "Alanis, no!"

Chuckling, the vet said, "She has just shown us what she thinks about being here."
The devil-dog reveals herself.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No photos allowed!

With my previous post, Google wouldn't allow an additional photo, saying my free storage on Picasa web is full. To post more photos, I either have to delete photos from my blog or buy storage. I spent a long, frustrating time yesterday evening searching around the help forums and didn't find any happy answers. Did you know that, although Picasa is supposedly only a photo editing site, any photos you delete from Picasa will also be deleted from your hard drive? I find that outrageous and would like to know how other pet bloggers are handling the problem. Some of you post photos daily. Did you buy storage? In theory, if you shrink the size of your photos, they'll take up less of that 1 GB free storage. But guess what, I couldn't find any accurate directions for changing the size of my photos that are already stored on Picasa web. It's no use changing them one at a time; that would take forever. I feel like I'm being held hostage by Google.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

A bad week from end to end

The bad week started last Monday evening with water spreading across the basement, under the Pergo floor. I dislike Pergo because it's noisy and slippery but flooding it isn't my idea of preparing for a remodel.  As my son and I mopped and sponged up water with every towel in the house, we squooshed around the room rescuing file boxes and packing up books to carry upstairs. Many houses were flooding that week after days of hard rain.

Then I found the dubiously good news. Water was entering the basement through a pipe that a plumbing company had rerouted and left uncapped last summer. Somebody else would have to pay.The next morning, after recovering from their surprise that I was correct about the source of the water all over my basement, workmen from the plumbing company capped the pipe and set in motion a series of visits of people to rip out the wet floor, install massive blowers to dry the area for three days (think sky-high electric bill coming) and send the odor of mildew and wet cement throughout the house.

Meanwhile, Alanis spent Tuesday at the veterinary hospital having some mammary tumors removed and Miro spent the duration of every workman's visit locked in my bedroom barking his--and my--head off. When she got home with stitches in four areas of her tummy, Alanis was not happy to be confined in a corner of the living room fenced in with convenient boxes of books and an x-pen. I had to make sure Miro wouldn't bounce at her, though. Not until Saturday did I get the news that none of the tumors was cancerous, a relief and a surprise considering she's almost 12 and wasn't spayed until age 8. She'll need a monthly breast check, though, just like humans are supposed to do.
Alanis isn't happy about her post-op tee. She knows she looks better in red.

Along with the floor problems and the heaving around of 30-lb boxes, which I can't do any more without repercussions in my back and legs the next day, I had network connection problems. Over and over. I'd get online and lose the connection a minute later while trying to grade papers for an online class. The Comcast  people have been here twice, replacing equipment. It's a race now whenever the connection works--can I check my email or do some work or write on the blog before the connection ends again? I had thoughts of throwing my computer through the window. In fact, the connection stopped in the middle of my writing this, which is why I cleverly copied and saved to Word before running around the house screaming.

Alanis' stitches are healing and come out Friday. A guy came and measured the basement for new flooring. I expect it'll take a while, since a lot of people experienced real flood damage during the pre-Thanksgiving heavy rains. That's OK; I can live with a dining room filled with boxes of books, though I do have to get some of those files off the kitchen counters. But I'm happy--the flooding was not due to a problem with the house and the foundation, now visible, is intact. So what's to complain?

Well, there's the neighbor dog outside barking at 5 in the morning but I'll save that for another day.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Joys of Silly Saturday

A few weeks ago, with the help of Silly Miro and even Alanis the Good, when I entered The Teacher's Pets Silly Saturday photo contest, I won that day. I did it just because it's fun to make up captions for the photos but look what happened:
 We won this.

And all this loot. Miro grabbed the chew rope first thing and I now have a certificate that means I'm officially silly. Visit The Teacher's Pets on Saturday and see how silly and creative you can get.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Veterans Day is based on the armistice of "the war to end all wars," which turned out instead to be the first great war of the twentieth century. A lot of great poetry came out of that war. One of the best known was Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est but my favorite has always been the more subtly ironic "Naming of Parts" by Henry Reed. Some things don't change much. Not so long ago in the Iraq war there was a lot of "we have not got" when it came to properly armored vehicles.

Naming of Parts

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,

We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,

We shall have what to do after firing. But today,

Today we have naming of parts. Japonica

Glistens like coral in all the neighboring gardens,

And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this

Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,

When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,

Which in your case you have not got. The branches

Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,

Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released

With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me

See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy

If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms

Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see

Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this

Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it

Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this

Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards

The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:

They call is easing the Spring.

They call is easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy

If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,

And the breech, the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,

Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom

Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,

For today we have the naming of parts.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Maybe a name change

What? Morning already?
 Things get a little boring around here when it's all work and no play, as it has been for more than a week. There's nothing for it but to let the chickens maraude around the yard and stir up the fallen leaves.
Godzilla imitation.

Despite the shorter days, Bazooka kept laying a daily egg until just recently. She'll have a well-deserved rest for the winter. Bran and Muffin, in their second or third year--I can't keep track--stopped laying when they moulted last August. Edna is more of a free spirit, laying at irregular intervals, as Modern Game bantams are known to do.

Bazooka seems aptly named but I've been wondering if I should call her Blueberry for a while, in keeping with the baked goods theme.  I could go all-out with ChocolateChipOatmealCookie, but that seems ostentatious.
Some people claim that their chickens know their names the way dogs do. I disagree. Chickens know when their human comes out and makes noises that possibly indicate food. They dash up to people because they are naturally inquisitive--and learn that people bring food. But I guarantee that Bazooka would not get confused or offended if I change her name from an armor-piercing weapon  or brand of bubble gum to something more in keeping with chicken interests.
The difficulty is that I'd have to remember her new name. Maybe I should call her Half-Baked?

I just don't know if I'm coming or going anymore.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I flunked Halloween

This is as far as we got regarding costuming. Miro was going to be a camper with a backpack but he flopped down and refused to march. Alanis tolerated her hat for a few minutes.

Are you serious? Just because I'm elderly, you're calling me an old bat.

Too humiliating.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's that stuff?

On Sunday, just a couple of minutes after I was looking at this

and this (actually I was cleaning gutters)

this happened.

This is the biggest, fastest hail we get around here. The ground was white within five minutes. The sound of it hitting the roof was almost as loud as the thunder that followed a few minutes later.

It melted nearly as quickly as it came and we were left with more of these


"Well, don't look at me; it's not my fault if I am naturally attractive
to mud."